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Thursday, April 22, 2010
Review: Zombie Farm
Review: Zombie Farm

For devotees of Facebook, there is a game that everyone knows: Farmville.  In this game, your character is given a plot of land on which to build a farm. You can plant crops, raise cattle, purchase decorative items and so forth.  Most folks end up playing it for a few weeks until their farm grows larger at which point it becomes a major pain in the butt to maintain and ends up requiring more time than an actual farm would.  The author of the game does offer items that would make it easier to play the game…if you’re willing to buy them with actual cash.

iPhone games | Zombie FarmiPhone games | Zombie Farm

Take the above paragraph and substitute “Zombie Farm” for “Farmville”.  Zombie Farm for the iPhone is practically a kissing cousin of Farmville.  The characters look the same, game play is fairly similar and the requirements of purchasing things with your hard-earned money are available in this portable form, too.  But…there’s zombies!  Aside from planting mundane crops like corn (good ol’ corn), lima beans (kids love ‘em!) or coffee (which has no witty tag line) you can also plant zombies of various types (although the variations aren’t as large as they’d seem).  These can then be sent out to invade a rival farmer, go after the bank foreclosing on your mortgage or even some high seas adventure!  During these invasions, you simply send your zombies to attack the opponent while one of them throws things from above on your undead friends and another fights them hand-to-hand. The zombies, however, have different ideas and you have to keep tapping them to keep their attentions focused. 

iPhone games | Zombie FarmiPhone games | Zombie Farm

As mentioned, game play is almost exactly the same as Farmville and if you’re familiar with one, you’ll be familiar with the other: plow land, plant, wait, harvest, plow, plant…etc.  It’s good mind-numbing fun in the beginning, but as your farm grows, it becomes more and more tedious.  Just like Farmville.  At around level 10, though, the free games ceases to be free.  Around this point, you need “the blue grave” which allows you to plant blue zombies.  Without the blue zombies I found absolutely no way to win the invasions and I lost them every time.  The problem is the blue grave costs 99 cents of actual money, so in order to proceed further you have to spend it.  Honestly, the game was still fairly entertaining at that point, so I spent it.  I’ve since achieved level 21 and haven’t had a need to purchase anything else since.  Every other “needed” item can be purchased with in-game currency.  At first I was put off by having to purchase this item, but as I thought about it, it wasn’t a bad deal.  The game itself is free and I got a good two weeks of play out of it before I had to make a purchase.  That’s really no different from most shareware games that have limited levels unless you buy. 

That in-game currency, BTW, consists of gold coins, which you’ll get for harvesting crops, winning an invasion or as part of a daily bonus.  You can link the game to your Facebook account, and if you have friends who also play you get bonus coins.  The other currency is brains.  What else would you have in a zombie game?  These can buy more advanced items like “the red grave” (not the well-regarded actress), which is needed to purchase red zombies which are stronger than the blue ones which are stronger than the green.

iPhone games | Zombie FarmiPhone games | Zombie Farm

Brains are very rare, though.  Since I started playing, I’ve managed to get about 13-14 of them.  The better items you can purchase with them cost 8-10 brains, so spend them sparingly in the beginning.  I bought the mutation monument with mine.  If you plant a zombie next to certain crops there’s a small chance it’ll mutate.  So, if you get a zombie that mutates next to celery, it gets a celery arm which makes it faster.  I found that if you plant your zombies between alternating rows of crops, you get some interesting mutations.  The mutation monument simply raises the chance of mutation to 100%.  So, now, I always have cauliflower-haired, garlic-headed, celery-armed, lima bean-bodied zombies with which to wreak havoc! 

Despite what appears to be a lot of griping, Zombie Farm has probably been the game I’ve spent the most time with since getting my iPhone. I’ve played it for the last few weeks, and for the most part enjoyed it.  But, my farm is large now and it takes 10-15 minutes just to harvest and replant.  The author just put out an update recently that included a couple of new plants, but that’s about it.  There are really only about 6-7 zombies, despite there being three levels.  Each of the three levels is a repeat of the preceding, just in a different color.  My biggest problem is that as you progress and your farm grows, the game slows down terribly.  With a dozen plus zombies running around, 120+ tiles of crops and a myriad of other things, it really chews up memory.  If you’ve got a 3G, be warned.  It won’t be the fastest game you’ve ever played on your device.

My recommendation is if you liked Farmville, even for a short time, you’ll probably enjoy Zombie Farm for about as long.  Play it, and if you don’t like it, stop when you have to purchase the blue grave.  It’s fun, despite its shortcomings…just not for long.

Features - 2.0
Appearance - 3.5
Playability - 2.5
Value - 3.0
Overall: 2.75 stars out of 5



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